Thanks to the Jewish Telegraph for featuring this article.
Life changed forever for Prestwich parents Sarah and Reuven Dafner, when their three-month-old son Tzvi contracted flu. As parents of six children, they were not duly worried by Tzvi’s illness. However, a few days after he became unwell, Tzvi suddenly stopped breathing. Paramedics managed revive him but the family were later told he had suffered ischemic brain injury, had no brain function, would not see, never have any cognition and would develop epilepsy, dystonia and other issues. While they were in Manchester Children’s Hospital, Camp Simcha came into their lives.
Camp Simcha supports UK families coping with a wide range of serious childhood illnesses. Over a quarter of the families they help live in Manchester. The charity delivers 23 bespoke services including family support, respite care, hospital transport, crisis household support, therapeutic art sessions, counselling, sibling support, outings and residential retreats.
“Camp Simcha came into our lives like angels, and have been there ever since,” said Mrs Dafner.
In the following years there were constant seizures, pain and emergency hospital admissions every few weeks, due to Tzvi’s compromised immune system. “I don’t think we would have been where we are today emotionally without Camp Simcha, especially during COVID-19, when so much of our other support was unavailable,” said Mrs Dafner.
“They help us in so many ways – all the practical support, meals for the family when we suddenly have to go into hospital; taking our other children out on a Sunday; and our amazing Family Liaison Officer Daniella, who I can always talk to.
“Camp Simcha have also helped our other children come to terms with having a very ill brother. They arrange therapeutic art sessions, outings and send in ‘Big Siblings’, who spend time with the children, making them feel special.”
Thankfully with hyperbaric oxygen treatment, Tzvi’s condition is better than the original prognosis – his epilepsy and immune system have improved tremendously, he can track with his eyes, he smiles and he can eat without a feeding tube.
“Baruch Hashem, our children have grown so much from this test,” says Mr Dafner. “They are happy, stable, well-balanced children and I think that Camp Simcha has played a major role in this, by creating this beautiful way of continuing life in the most normal way, even with a challenge.”
If you or someone you know needs Camp Simcha’s support call 020 8202 9297 or 0161 341 0589 in Manchester or email firstname.lastname@example.org